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tv   CNN Newsroom Live  CNN  October 18, 2023 1:00am-2:01am PDT

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side of the border in israel. and of course, 199 hostages, israeli and foreign nationals now being held in gaza. let's bring in cnn's white house correspondent arlette saenz who is standing by live in washington. i just wonder as we look at these pictures and wait to see president biden come down the steps of air force one, how have things changed for him in the, what, 10, 12 hours he's been on this flight, arlette? what's his objective at this point? >> becky, any moment now we're expecting president biden to set foot in tel aviv, marking a real historic moment as he is expected to be greeted there by liz prime minister benjamin netanyahu. the president heading directly into an active conflict, the second time he is doing so this year. you'll remember he traveled into ukraine on that secret trip earlier in the year, and now he will be doing so as israel is waging its war against hamas. this already complicated and
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difficult mission that the president was embarking on became even more complicated just yesterday afternoon amid the blast at that hospital in gaza. the second portion of the president's trip ultimately was canceled. he was set to travel to jordan to talk about establishing humanitarian aid, establishing a corridor to get aid into gaza. but that trip was up ended in the aftermath of the blast. white house officials have down played the expectations of concrete deliverables. of course the president is hoping to press both benjamin netanyahu as well as others on trying to alleviate some of the humanitarian concerns. but it is unclear what specific announcements the president might leave israel with. but part of his agenda while he is on the ground there today is to try to ascertain what exactly the israelis need as they continue to try to root out hamas.
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the u.s. of course has said israel has the right to defend itself, but we have also seen the white house in recent days really trying to warn about trying to minimize the risk to civilian casualties. that is expected to be something that president biden will also bring up in his conversations with netanyahu. as you see there, he is now descending the stairs of air force one making this historic visit to israel as he is not only trying to confirm u.s. support for the country but also trying to send a message to potential rogue actors not to get involved and trying to prevent this from escalating into a wider situation. you see the president there greating the israelis as he is there for this historic trip. >> that's right. and president biden now on the tarmac in tel aviv and israel being greeted by benjamin netanyahu the prime minister and by the president herzog. and as you rightly point out, this is an extremely delicate
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journey now. and its objectives we can only assume may have changed somewhat in the hours that he has been in flight. you speak about the fact that the regional summit that he was supposed to attend once he is finished here in israel, which was supposed to be in jordan, has now been canceled. he won't get that opportunity to speak to his very close regional allies who are absolutely catatonic about what they see going on in in gaza at present. we've had very, very specific statements from jordan, from egypt, from the palestinian authority president abbas. but also saudi. the uae. which has normalized relations with israel and was very much, you know, a friend in power to the white house who has been
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trying to effect this normalization project, the middle east pillar as it were as far as policy is concerned. all of them outrightly condemning what has happened this gaza, blaming israel for the blast that happened at the hospital in gaza which has caused so many deaths. we've already just in the past hour or so heard from the idf who are absolutely denying that they were responsible for that incident. they have said that it was a rocket from jihad one of the other groups working in gaza and they say they have evidence to support that contention. they also say that they have an audio conversation which they have now released between islamic jihad and hamas soon after that blast which they say supports the contention that it was indeed islamic jihad rocket. but look, be that as it may, at
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this point clearly it is important for the white house to get on the right side of this. and so, you know, once again we wait to see what comes out of these meetings in the next couple of hours or so. but from the white house perspective, is it clear, is it new clear what success will look like for joe biden on this trip? >> reporter: i think first and foremost what the white house is hoping to accomplish here is trying to show that steadfast support for israel, trying to determine what exactly they will need going forward as they are continuing this military campaign to root out hamas. but the blast in gaza has certainly complicated the dynamics around an already difficult trip. of course you have both sides assigning blame and responsibility to one another for the blast. the white house has said that they are still working to
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determine and examine the intelligence, they have yet to assign any responsibility to this. but john kirby on the trip over here did say that israel feels very strongly that they did not cause this blast. so that is something that the white house will have to navigate going forward as there are a lot of concerns about the fact that there were hundreds killed during this blast at that hospital in gaza. but of course one of the other key items for the president, he's expected to stress in his meetings will be the need to provide humanitarian aid to gaza as well as trying to protect civilians as israel is continuing this campaign against hamas. that has been one of the very tricky dynamics as this played out. you've heard biden at the beginning say that israel has the right to defend itself, but you have seen the steady uptick
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of warnings from the president and the white house to israel to try to take caution about civilians who could get caught up in this battle. and that is something as you noted that allies in the region have also expressed concern about. you've heard that from the egyptian president, you've heard that from jordan's king, king abdullah, and so that is all something that the white house will have to balance in this moment. of course one thing to note is that even though this trip toor dan jordan was ckcanceled, the whit house did say that they intend on calling el sisi and mahmoud abbas as he is traveling home back to washington once this trip in israel concludes. so this could be an opportunity for the president to once again try to talk about those humanitarian corridors, getting that aid into gaza. but it is unclear whether they will emerge with any type of concrete plan coming out of the president's trip today.
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of course the white house says another issue is that is top of mind of president biden is those hostages who are being held by gaza. the white house estimates there are about a handful of americans who may be currently being held hostage. while the president is on the ground there in israel, he is expected to meet with families who have been impacteded by this violence, who have lost loved ones, also those who believe that their loved ones are being held hostage. unclear if any of those are americans, but that is a key priority. they haven't had any signals yet that there will be any imminent release. >> and while we watch these pictures, let's just remind ourselves what is going on here. so president biden has arrived in tel aviv in israel. they are now leaving in the cars from the tarmac where they touched down. let me bring back images of what happened as president biden descended the stairs.
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he hugged -- obviously the optics are very important here. he hugged the prime minister benjamin netanyahu as he came off that flight. also in attendance there the president isaac herzog also embracing the u.s. president. while on the flight, the white house released a statement from the u.s. president while he was flying into israel. it says "i am outraged and deeply saddened by the explosion as he described it at the arab hospital in gaza and the terrible loss of life that resulted. the united states stands unequivocally for the protection of civilian life during conflict and we mourn the patients, medical staff and other innocents killed or wounded in this tragedy. you have to ask yourself how the
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objectives or framing of this trip might have changed in the hours while joe biden has been on that flight given what we saw local time here at 7:00 yesterday. the enormous loss of life by an explosion at the hospital in gaza, the idf slightly 100% describing that as an attack by islamic jihad. hamas absolutely determined that strike was caused by an airstrike from israelis. so as that sort of back and forth goes on, clearly what we see is the fallout from that which, you know, gaza had already been described as catastrophe and now this incredibles will o s loss of li
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hospital. what is unfolding on the ground is very, very devastating. so arlette saenz, stand by. let's get to elliott gotkine who is standing by in london. because at this point, as i've suggested, we've got these developments in the past hour or so from the idf. clearly extremely important to israel as the u.s. president arrives, as he gets involved in these talks with israeli officials here, so he is coming, you know, with the images in his mind of what happened in gaza yesterday. let's describe for the viewers how the idf is framing this. >> reporter: idf is framing this as you say as an errant rocket fired by islamic jihad. this is the smaller militant group also designated a terrorist organization by the united states. it operates in the gaza strip.
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the chief spokesman for the idf saying -- outlining what he says is the evidence that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that israel was not responsible, that it was not attacking the moment or the area around it at that point in time, that there is no structural damage or craters that would indicate that it was an id f-bomb that called the explosion. and also saying that they even have intercept of audio from islamic jihad militants talking about how this rocket was fired from a nearby cemetery. and in that press briefing saying after it became clear what had happened, hamas decided to blame it all on israel. >> analysis of our aerial footage confirms that there was no direct hit to the hospital
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itself. the only location damage is outside the hospital in the parking lot where we can see signs of burning which i will show later. no cratering. and no structural damage to nearby buildings. s as opposed to the damage caused by any aerial munition which would have been of different nature. >> reporter: israel saying that it has even more intelligence that it is sharing with the united states, no doubt president biden will be privy to that to confirm or perhaps otherwise the idf take on what happened last night. but of course this does not only complicate president biden's visit to israel, but it also complicates israel's situation right now. both in terms of the concern that those images from the hospital could be used as a pretext by iran's proxy hezbollah to widen the conflict to create for real a northern front, and also we've already seen israel's allies in the region, egyptians, jordanians
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and emiratis and now the saudis with whom israel a couple weeks ago they were inching towards a normalization agreement, all criticizing and complicating the diplomatic picture for israel and also i think programs the military approach because we've been talking about the potential for this ground invasion being imminent. it hasn't happened thus far. it would be incredibly surprising to see it happen while president biden is in town, but perhaps given what has happened and the rising death toll among palestinian civilians whether or not those who died last night in that blast at the hospital were due to an israeli rocket or palestinian islamic jihad rocket, the pressure will be on easy really to be incredibly careful with any ground invasion. and this may temper perhaps the plans that israel had for a ground invasion of the gaza
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strip to try to, in its words, destroy hamas and it capabilities to ever do anything on the scale of the terrorist attack that it launched on october 7th. becky. >> yeah, and an incursion that the prime minister benjamin netanyahu and his war cabinet have promised the israeli public, elliott. >> reporter: absolutely. this government which in many quarters is being blamed for the intelligence failures for not being able to prevent this attack from happening, not being able to deal with it in a faster way when it became clear what was unfolding, it is under enormous pressure to do what it says it is going to do, to not only destroy hamas to prevent it remaining in government and certainly decimating its offensive capabilities, but also to bring back those some 200 hostages who were taken by hamas into the gaza strip to bring them back home and bring them back alive.
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it is an incredibly difficult and complicated test at the best of times. in the wake of that blast at the gaza hospital, whether or not israel was responsible or indeed it was a rocket from islamic jihad, that task now just got a whole lot more complicated, becky. >> elliott gotkine is in london, reported for years from tel aviv. and arlette saenz in washington. on to both of you, thank you very much. and we'll be back for more on president biden's visit to israel following the deadly blast tuesday at a hospital.
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welcome back. you're watching cnn. i'm becky anderson in tel aviv for you. u.s. president biden has landed here in israel just a short while ago. his visit comes amid deepening tensions in the region after a blast killed hundreds of people at a hospital in gaza last night. palestinian officials have blamed israel for the bombing. however israel defense forces just in the past hour produced a video it says shows the blast could not have been the result
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of an israeli airstrike. the united nations secretary-general has condemned the deadly blast and called for an immediate humanitarian cease fire in othe region. also a warning that palestinians are in grave danger of mass ethnic cleansing by israel. joining me now michael stevens, an associate fellow at royal united service institute. it is comments like those coming from the u.n. which are clearly going to underscore just how difficult now this trip for president biden will be. how do you see the framing for this trip and how do you think it may have changed in the hours since the hospital blast in gaza? >> clearly there is still
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looming over the back of all of this the potential for an i re israeli ground incursion in gaza to free the hostages or destroy hamas, whatever the mission statement is. i think president biden has to talk to the israelis how the window has gone from here to here. possibility of an escalation militarily is shrinking by the senc second. and it is not just because of what happened with the hospital strike. it is the fact that regional tectonic plates are shifting so fast right now that the narrative is swinging away from the israelis and they are losing a bit of control over their ability to manage this escalation. so president biden is going to need to speak to benjamin netanyahu and say look, what is the end game here. how do you get there. these are the things that we can accept. these are the things that we cannot accept. the international community is beginning to say that whatever
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happens now, more civilian casualties are unacceptable, what is your plan. and when you've executed had plan, how do we ensure that we go back to some kind of status quo so it doesn't happen again in five years. netanyahu better find the answers fast because the window is closing. >> we know antony blinken has had sort of three priorities in the past week while he's been in region. obviously the release of hostages, there are u.s. citizens included in the 199 hostages, held by hamas. the opening of the humanitarian corridor, the purpose is to get aid in, but also to the u.s. message, get people out. again in the first instance one guesses the 500 or so u.s. and canadian citizens that we understand to be in gaza. and then it is the wider story,
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what happens next as far as the ground incursion is concerned as you rightly point out and then the kind of wider story of how you deescalate what is going on here to avoid this spilling around the region. i think it is important that we mark this regional reaction. this has been swift. it came from the early hours in the wake of the blast at the hospital in gaza where let's just be quite clear, hundreds of people have lost their lives. it was swift around the region. the uae, saudi arabia, egypt, iraq condemning israel. a statement from jordan's king abdullah called it a heinous massacre committed by israel today against innocent civilians receiving treatment. whatever the facts of the investigation are, do you believe this could be a turning point in this conflict, a
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turning point -- a point at which president biden's mission in region to a certain extent becomes almost impossible? >> well, it is not quite yet impossible, but he has a real challenge on his hands. and you've nailed it, it is the sense that no matter what the facts around this strike or the explosion at the hospital, regional friends are slipping away. what i thought was interesting about the timing of the uae and saudi statements were that they came out in both english and arabic at a time in which it was clear that it wasn't certain who had done this. so initially people were reporting that the israelis had hit the hospital. and then very quickly people -- analysts, people like myself, military experts were saying hang on, something doesn't look 100% on here. we need to wait for verification. what happened was that regional arab states knew that this was happening.
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they are on twitter, they speak to analysts and professional diplomats, they knew there was a disagreement about what the cause of the strike was. and yet they came out with these statements anyway condemning israel. that shows to me that the politics of this is moving much faster than the military situation. when that happens, it is very difficult to then keep control. so from biden's point of view from the time he took off to the time he landed in tel aviv, the situation had changed and the u.s. is going to have to shift the goalposts a bit. what does success look like for biden now? i think it is basically getting people around the table to try to stop further escalation. the question that he is going to have to come up with is, well, okay, arab states are saying that israel cannot keep going, but of course benjamin netanyahu is under pressure from his own side to conduct an operation in gaza to remove hamas, to ensure that this doesn't happen again. how do you balance these two things? three days ago that was not the question.
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it was almost a certainty that the israelis would go ininto ga. the longer that has not happened, the more likely it won't happen. or if it does happen, it is extremely limited. so we're in a situation which is almost like the worst of both worlds. we don't have a military solution, there is no political solution, is it going to be put on ice just to start all over again in a couple years. i see a lot of problems coming. >> yeah, and i think it is just important to explain why it is that we underscore the response of the uae and the saudis. it is because these two countries are not just close allies of the united states and of course united states has egypt and jordan in this region who are also close allies, but these are the two countries who had increasingly close ties to israel. the uae normalized relations under the abraham accords back in 2020. we've had much discussion about
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normalization deal between israel and saudi being only months away. we always talked about how important it was for both of these countries that the palestinian issue was front and center, perhaps there has been some criticism of the united arab emirates that they went ahead without a sort of roadmap for the palestinians. saudis have been very clear about wanting to ensure that there was a roadmap for the palestinians for their outlook of independence and sovereignty. but certainly these two countries have been in lockstep with the united states who have been using this issue of normalization as a bedrock, a pillar for washington's middle east policy at present under the biden administration. and it has to be said under the trump administration as well. so that is why i think it is important to point out why the condemnation of israel by this kind of wide group of u.s.
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allies is so important at this point and will make this trip here for joe biden so critical in how he frames his sort of objectives going forward. and of course the meeting with arab leaders in jordan is canceled. i wonder what you think his message to the region is going to be at this point. i mean, we know that there is clearly going to be a big focus on what is happening in gaza. but how does he stop this slipping out of control and what will be his message to the regional leaders? >> i think, becky, this architecture that the u.s. was trying to build may already be breaking apart. i can't say yet whether the uae will, you know, pull away from the abraham accords or not. but the saudi normalization is off the table. and i think maybe all of us made
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a bit of a mistake in o overfocusing on the regional aspect here while not paying attention to the severity of the conditions in the west bank and gaza. i'm at fault here. a lot of us are. the day before hamas launched its attack, i spent several hours talking with people from the region and all we could talk about was the saudi normalization. nobody spoke about palestinian rights. and within ten hours of that conversation, bang, here we are. and now two weeks later the situation looks grave indeed. the u.s. position is quite clear that israel has a right to defend itself. they will not move from that premise. okay. so there is a military operation that is ongoing. there is a humanitarian crisis on the ground. how do you then translate what you are seeing to getting arab states back on board with the program that you have in the region. i think it will be very difficult. first of all you have to deescalate the violence. you have to provide some solution that makes it certain
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that the palestinians will have their rights respected and that they have security, that they have electricity, water, food, et cetera. bruh the but then you have to start talking about what happens after. tl and there is no hope to talk about regional peace deals because there is still so much potential for escalation that all you are doing is putting out fires as they emerge one by one. and you have protests against israel and united states breaking out across the region. you have the u.s. embassy in beirut stormed by mobs of people last night. there are so many problems to address that thinking strategically about how you move forward is very difficult. people are so frustrated. the region as some would say is starting to boil. you have to get the tension down otherwise it could escalate much
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further and then we really don't have any pathway to peace. so i think that is what has to be done first. then you have to say okay, look, we have to start moving on a palestinian track that looks political rather than military. but that is a conversation that mr. netanyahu will have to enter into. let's see if he does or not. >> and what you've rightly pointed out is that the slippage of this violence becomes a national security issue to so many countries around the region and it will be the reason why you are seeing these statements of condemnation. what happens here doesn't stay here. it slips across the region and that puts everybody's national security at risk. michael, thank you for joining us. we'll take a short break.
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welcome back. in tel aviv the time is 11:35 in the morning. u.s. president joe biden has landed in israel just a short while ago. this visit amid deepening tensions in the region after a blast killed hundreds of people at a hospital in gaza around 7:00 in the evening last night. palestinian officials put the blame on israeli airstrikes. israel defense forces denies any involvement. i want to bring in white house correspondent arlette saenz in washington and scott mclean is with us in london. ar let me read the statement released by the white house
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while the president was flying here. of course this blast at the hospital in gaza, we've been discussing how that may change the framing of joe biden's trip here. this was released while they were flying in, "i'm outraged and deeply saddened by the explosion at the arab hospital in gaza and the terrible loss of life that resulted. the united states stands un unequivocally for life." and we know the president is now with benjamin netanyahu who he embraced warmly on the tarmac when he arrived just about a half an hour ago. what do you make now of that statement and the objectives that the u.s. president may have
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here? >> reporter: that blast at that hospital certainly has shifted the dynamics of president biden's trip to israel. it was a trip meant to show solidarity with israel as well as trying to ascertain what needs they will need going forward, but it also speaks to the volatile situation in the region and also the growing humanitarian concerns and the risks being posed to civilians as this war between israel and hamas wages on. white house officials heading over into this trip have sought to downplay expectations about the president emerging from this trip with concrete deliverables. instead officials say he will be there to manage what is increasingly becoming a complex situation. in a short while we expect to see president biden sitting down one-on-one with israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu. part of the goal is seek more input and insight into israel's plans going forward.
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and white house officials say the president is prepared to ask tough questions of netanyahu as this war is taking shape. of course one of the big concerns from this white house is something that the president is expected to bring up in these talks is the issue of getting humanitarian aid into gaza as well as ensuring minimization of a risk to civilian life. you have seen a lot of frustration bubbling up including from arab allies about the situation in gaza. we've seen protests erupt overnight after that blast occurred at that hospital in gaza. of course the white house says -- the u.s. says they are still assessing the intelligence surrounding this incident. israelis have provided some intelligence to the u.s. which it is analyzing at this time. and so far the u.s. has not assigned a responsibility to anyone for this blast. of course you have hamas saying it was israel and israel saying
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it was the jihad group. but this all speaks to the volatility and quickly shifting nature of this trip. of course president biden in addition to meeting with netanyahu in israel, he was set to travel on to jordan for a critical summit with the leaders of egypt, palestinian authority and as well as jordan. but that was completely scrapped after that blast at that hospital. one of the key concerns going forward is what the u.s. and the arab allies can do together to try to open up the humanitarian corridor to get aid into gaza. the white house saying that they want to ensure that there is sustained aid to gaza, but also broader questions about how civilians will be impacted in this conflict, likely something that president biden will bring up in his discussions with netanyahu. of course biden values the personal connection, having that face-to-face time. so there will be possibly some very frank conversations between the two leaders a israel is still determining their path forward as they seek to root out
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hamas. of course biden's overall goal in this is to prevent it from escalating into a wider conflict, his trip there meant to act as a message to potential rogue actors in the region not to get further involved in the war. but it does come at a complicated time not just for the geopolitical dynamics but the president's political dynamics here at home. of course these series of meetings today will be another step in trying to not just ensure that the u.s. a offering that support to israel, but also trying to stem it from spreading into a wider conflict. >> and the response from the region. and these are u.s. allies. let's just -- while we pause for a moment here, this is president biden with the israeli prime minister.
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>> mr. president, joe, i want to thank you for coming here today and for the unequivocal support you have given israel during these trying times, support that reflects the overwhelming will of the american people. i've seen your support every day in the depth and breadth of cooperation that we've had since the beginning of this war, a level of cooperation that is truly unprecedented in the history of the great alliance between our two nations. we see that support and your steadfast commitment to providing israel with the tools we need to defend ourselves, we see that support in the clear message you've sent our enemies not to test our resolve and in the two american carrier battle groups that you sent to the region to back up those words with action.
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above all, mr. president, the world sees that support and you've rightly drawn a clear line between the forces of civilization and the forces of barbarism. you describe what hamas did as sheer evil. it is exactly that. hamas murdered children in front of their parents and parents in front of their children. they burnt people alive. they raped and murdered women. they beheaded soldiers. they search for the secret hiding places where parents hid their children. just imagine, mr. president, the fear and panic of those little children in their last moments
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oos th as the homonitors found their hiding places. i know you share our outrage on this and our determination to bring these people back. on october 7, hamas murdered 1400 israelis. maybe more. this is in a country of fewer than 10 million people. this would be equivalent to over 50,000 americans murdered in a single day. that is 20 9/11s. that is why october 7 is another day that will live in infamy. mr. president, you right wly sa that has is worse than isis. the german chancellor who visited here yesterday said that hamas were the new nazis. you are both right. and just as a civilized world united to defeat the nazis and united to defeat isis, the civilized world must unite to
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defeat hamas. i can assure you israel is united to defeat hamas and we will defeat hamas and remove this terrible threat from our lives. the forces of civilization will prevail for our sake, for your sake, for peace and security in our region and in the world. mr. president, for the people of israel, there is only one thing better than having a true friend like you standing with israel and that is having them standing in israel. your visit here is the first visit of an american president in israel at a time of war. it is deeply, deeply moving. it speaks to the depths of your personal commitment to israel, it speaks to the depth of your personal commitment to the future of the jewish people and the one and only jewish state. so i know i speak for all the people of israel when i say thank you, mr. president, thank
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you for standing with israel today, tomorrow and always. >> mr. prime minister, thank you very much. look, folks, i wanted to be here today for a simple reason. i want the people of israel, the people of the world to know the united states stands. i've had my great secretary of state here, he's been here for a lot. but i wanted to personally come and make that clear. tres g the terrorist group has slaughtered, and that is not hyperbole, and including 31 americans as part of that. and they have taken scores of people hostage including children. he said imagine what those children hiding from hamas were
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thinking. it is beyond my comprehend to imagine what they were thinking. they very v. have committed evi make isis look somewhat more rational. you know, americans are grieving with you, they really are. and americans are worried. americans are worried because they know that this is not an easy field to navigate what you have to do. it seems that we need to continue to ensure that you have what you need to defend ourselves and we'll make sure that occurs as you know. and we have to also bear in mind that hamas does not represent all the palestinian people.
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and has brought them only suffering. years ago i asked the secretary of state when he and i worked in the senate to write something for me and he wrote a line that i think is appropriate, he said it is not -- well, i won't go into it, i'll wait until later. i'm taking too much time. but the point is this, that i'm deeply saddened and outraged by the explosion at the hospital in gaza yesterday and based on what i've seen, it appears as though it was done by the other team, not you. but there is a lot of people out there who are not sure. so we have to overcome a lot of things. also means helping the palestinians innocent caught in the middle of this. and well, at any rate, that is who we are.
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not just me, but that is who the united states is. this is not the example of power but the power of example that is just as important. the world is looking. israel has a value set like the united states does. and other democracies. and they are looking to see what we're going to do. so mr. prime minister, i'm very happy to be bank in israel with you. thank you for having me. and i'm looking forward to having a thorough discussion about where everybody goes from here. but thank you. and i want to say to the people of israel, their courage, their commitment, their bravery is stunning. it is really stunning. i'm proud to be here. >> thank you .
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>> well, you just heard the u.s. president speaking sitting beside benjamin netanyahu and joe biden said -- or certainly underlined that the u.s. will provide whatever support israel needs. he said the world is watching israel has a set of values like the u.s. has and it is important that they stick that those. i wouldn't bring back arlette saenz in washington. the words we heard from president biden there go a long way to addressing what you and i have been discussing, the
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delicacy with which joe biden will need to walk a line here given what happened in gaza last night with the attack on the hospital. hundreds of people died. while he said i understand there is some confusion as to, you know, who was behind that attack, he was pretty emphatic that, you know, that we need to sort of calm things down at this point. this is difficult, isn't it, for joe biden. >> reporter: yeah, it is a very complicated and dynamic situation that the president is trying to navigate at this moment. he made this trip to israel with the intent of trying to show that steadfast support that the u.s. is ready to commit to israel as it wages this war against hamas. you heard the president saying there that the u.s. stands ready to offer support to the country as well as the president trying to make this symbolic show of
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force to the israeli people. you saw him on the tarmac embracing netanyahu. you see him side by side vowing that the u.s. will continue to support him. but the president also made some points about the future of this war as well as talking about the civilian impact that is occurring on the ground there. it was important to note that the president said hamas does not represent all palestinian people. you have seen this concern spreading among arab allies about the fact that there are civilians caught in the middle of this fight between israel and hamas and arab countries urging israel to exercise restraint in that manner. i also think that it was important as you heard the president talk about that blast in that hospital in gaza, he said that he was deeply saddened and outraged. and from the president's perspective based on what he has seen, he believes that it was done by the other team but said that there are still some questions out there from other
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people. so it will be interesting to hear in the coming hours if the u.s. has seen any further intelligence. of course israel has said that it was not done at hands while hamas has accused israel of doing so. earlier as officials were flying over to israel, a white house spokesperson john kirby said israel feels strongly about their conviction that they did not cause that blast at that hospital. but it speaks to the extremely volatile situation that the president is walking into in the region. especially as there are growing concerns about access to humanitarian aid in gaza, as well as the risks being posed to civilians in the region. now, the white house has said that the president is prepared to ask netanyahu some tough questions, of course one of the things the president wants to do during this trip is get a handle on israel's plans going forward as they plan to continue this war. but it certainly has become an even more complicated situation
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for the president especially after that blast at that hospital in gaza which then prompted the cancellation of his trip to jordan. of course the white house saying it is due to a three day mourning people, but it was at that meeting that the white house had really hoped to talk with arab leaders in the region, president of egypt and also president of the palestinian authority and king abdullah of jordan. so far they have down played the expectations to leave the trip with any concrete deliverables. his focus is more on managing the complicated dynamics on the ground there. of course one thing the president did want to talk about is trying to open up the humanitarian corridor to get aid into glaza. and these are all issues that he will have to navigate not just on this trip but days and weeks ahead. >> arlette saenz in washington. now let me go to peter lerner,
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lieutenant colonel. he is a spokesperson for the idf. and peter, you've been talking about exactly trying to explain exactly what israel believes hap happened. palestinian observer says it is the israelis who are lying about what happened pinning the blame on islamic jihad. i have to ask you, will you release more material for your investigation and do you expect that the material you are release willing go some way to convincing those who believe israel is responsible for this, that this will be sufficient? >> here is what we know. we know that palestinian islamic jihad launched rockets at israel. we know one fell and hit and impacted and killed palestinians in gaza at the hospital.
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we know it because we know that the idf did not conduct operations in the area, not by land, not by sea, not by air. we know it because our radars identified the trajectory of the rockets as they were being launched overhead of the hospital. and we know finally because they admitted it themselves. but you are asking me for proof? you don't need to get proof from me, just switch over to al gental jazeera who broadcasted it live, they broadcasted the rocket hitting inside the gaza strip. so if you are asking for proof, you don't really want the proof, you just want to make sure you have a story. and unfortunately, there have been so much premature -- >> hang on, peter. that is unfair. tauk. >> >> we have trying to seek the proof.
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that is the question i asked you and you have provided what you can at this point. and i appreciate that. but please don't suggest that we're not trying to identify the -- [ everybody talking at once ] >> you will never be content with whatever i share because you will ask for more and more and more. you can take what i say for face value and you have to -- >> i'm reporting what other people -- [ everybody talking at once ] >> it is not the palestinians. you are parroting what -- >> [ everybody talking at once ] . >> i'll leave it there. good to have you, sir. [ everybody talking at once ] we are trying to nail down the facts and it is good to have you with us. thank you very much. we'll take a short break. back after this.
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